Opportunity: CITE

I admit — I struggle with this as well.

But it is something we all should work much better on — especially if it is something we expect our students to do and if they don’t, they get a lower grade because of that.


Not just images….but information as well.

Just recently, I was watching a presentation — and a quote was attributed to Albert Einstein.  It was a good quote and for that moment, it was a quote that gave credibility and power to the discussion.  Yet, when googled later, I discovered that indeed that quote was NEVER uttered by Albert Einstein….

Had the presenter deliberately tried to fool the audience into acceptance of their content???
— of that I cannot be sure
…..but was the presenter guilty of sharing incorrect information???
— I would say “YES.”

And truly now, how hard is it to check your resources?  Nothing like it was in the 1980’s when I would walk over to Cal State Fullerton’s Library and spend HOURS of time not only searching information but then writing down where I found the information and then cross checking for accuracy.   Lucky for me, I had teachers who were very very knowledgeable and expected me to turn in quality papers … and if my information was incorrect, they let me know.   And to be honest, I also ADORE research!

Pretty much now….within at least 10 minutes of GOOD internet sleuthing, you can decipher if information is accurate or not.  And if you cannot within 10 minutes, it is safe to say you should not use it as an absolute in your session.

For instance — take this quote:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Who said that — quick — don’t google it.   Who do you think it should be attributed to??

Did you answer Benjamin Franklin — sorry, but no.
Did you answer Albert Einstein — again, sorry.
Did you answer Sigmund Freud — alas, nope.
Did you think Mark Twain — yet again….no.

According to Wikiquote, the earliest known occurrence of this statement is in a mystery novel, Sudden Death, by Rita Mae Brown (Bantam, 1983).

And that took me about 5 minutes to google and then another 5 minutes just verifying my information was accurate.

I don’t wish to say that you need to enter now into every session with a feeling of skepticism and “prove it” attitude.  But I do believe that we, as presenters, and we, as an audience — should have the right to expect (and to provide) accurate information — and the easiest way to do so…..is to provide a listing of your resources.

So, if you are going to quote — double check who you are quoting.
So, if you are going to share statistics — make sure your statistics are accurate and timely.
And don’t just hope that no one won’t check out what you are saying —

because, I can promise you, they are listening!

Just My Thoughts –


To be honest — this blog post is in reaction to something that happened to me just over a week ago.  I entered into a discussion that I was ill-prepared for — and when forced to share my data, I boldly quoted what I believed to be accurate.  Only to find out that while my data had been accurate — IN 2006 — is was now out-dated and incorrect.  And, I lost the argument and because I had been so adamant, I lost a bit of credibility as well.


One comment

  1. Deborah Ferguson says:

    Thank you for the advise. Coming from an “I’m always right” person like myself, who never wants to me wrong (and rarely is. Ha!), I’ll be careful of my data and citing sources. I had to think back on information I used today in my OCCUE presentation and luckily I didn’t quote anybody and I’m hoping google’s image labels are accurate as I used them to cite the sources of my pictures.
    Thanks, Jen!

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